Creating A Numbers Station Of Your Very Own

Numbers stations are a weird phenomenon where odd voices read out long strings of numbers or random codewords to the confusion of the vast majority of the listening audience. If you’ve ever wanted to build one of your own, you could follow the example of [AudioWanderer].

NumberMumble, as it’s called, is a numbers station emulator. It doesn’t signal spy networks or reveal national secrets. Instead, it randomly plays audio samples using an Arduino, including characteristic bursts of white noise that make it sound more authentic. It relies on the Mozzi library to help with audio tasks, including generating white noise and playing back samples. It’s also kitted out with a filter knob for varying the tone. Audio output is via PWM.

If you want to confuse your neighbours with oddball audio, put this thing on a radio transmitter and get broadcasting. But don’t, because that’s illegal without the proper licenses or — you know — if you happen to be a real spy. Video after the break.

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Run Your Own Numbers Station

Numbers stations are shortwave stations that broadcast cryptic messages that are widely assumed to be used for communications between nation states and spies. But who’s to say it’s up to the government to have all the fun? If you’ve always dreamed of running your own spy ring, you’ll need a way to talk to them too. Start with this guide on how to run your own numbers station.

The requirements are simple – you just need random numbers, one time pads for each recipient (available from our store!) and a way to send the audio – ideally a powerful shortwave transmitter, but for an intelligence agency on a budget, online streaming will work. Then you’re ready to send your message. [Jake Zielke] shares techniques on how to easily encode a message into numbers for transmission, and how to encrypt them with one time pad techniques. Done properly, this is an unbreakable form of encryption. [Jake] then rounds out the guide with tips on how to format your station’s transmissions to address multiple secret agents effectively.

It’s a great way to get started in the world of spooky secret radio communications. All the tools needed to get started are available on the page, so you’ll be up and running in no time. Meanwhile, why not do a little more research on the history of numbers stations?

Strange Signals? Sigidwiki!

If you’ve gotten into software-defined radio (SDR) in the last five years, you’re not alone. A lot of hackers out there are listening in to the previously unheard. But what do you do when you find an interesting signal and you don’t know what it is? Head on over to the Signal Identification Wiki! You’ll find recordings and waterfall plots for a ton of radio signals categorized by frequency band as well as their use.

Or, conversely, maybe you’ve just got a new radio and you want to test it out. What would be a fun challenge to receive? Signals in the catalog range from the mundane, like this smart home energy meter from California, or a Chrysler tire-pressure monitoring system to (probably) secret military or intelligence transmissions.

If you’re looking at a waterfall plot and you’re not sure what to make of it, the sigidwiki is worth a look. And it’s a wiki, so if you’ve got a cool signal and you want to add it, create an account and get to it!

Thanks to [mkie] for the tip!